Britain’s Prince Andrew will face civil action in New York over allegations of sexual abuse linked to his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, a federal judge has ruled.
Virginia Giuffre alleges that the late financier Jeffrey Epstein tricked her into Prince Andrew for sexual purposes while she was underage. The royal denied the charges, said he had no recollection of meeting Giuffre and sought to either dismiss her complaint or force her to make a more definitive statement of allegations.
But Manhattan federal judge Lewis Kaplan, in a 43-page ruling, dismissed the two claims, saying they were “denied in all respects.”
In August 2021, Giuffre sued the prince, claiming he repeatedly sexually assaulted her in 2001 when she was 17.
Federal prosecutors in New York have formally requested through the UK government to speak with Prince Andrew as part of their ongoing criminal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse history, according to a person familiar with the matter. .
Lawyers for the prince have challenged the lawsuit on several grounds, saying “Andrew never abused or sexually assaulted Giuffre. He unequivocally denies Giuffre’s false allegations against him.
They also wrote that Giuffre sued Andrew “to get another salary at his expense and at the expense of those close to him.” Epstein’s abuse of Giuffre does not justify his public campaign against Prince Andrew.
Earlier this year, a previously sealed $ 500,000 settlement in 2009 between Epstein and Giuffre that Prince Andrew said protected him from his trial became public. The deal contained a paragraph that said it protected anyone “who might have been included as a potential defendant” from being sued by Giuffre.
Lawyer Andrew Brettler, representing the prince, has previously argued that the agreement “relieves Prince Andrew and others of any alleged liability arising from the claims Ms Giuffre has made against Prince Andrew here”.
But Judge Kaplan, in the ruling dated Tuesday and released Wednesday, said the language of the 2009 agreement was so ambiguous that its meaning (and relationship to the prince) would have to be decided by a jury.
Epstein committed suicide in August 2019 while in prison awaiting trial on a litany of federal charges. His confidante Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of sex trafficking late last month.